When a typical Monday takes a turn

Published: Monday, June 26, 2023

Dale and Jean Holmes, a real estate agent and broker in Clarkesville, Georgia, were beginning what they thought was another normal week at their home when Dale started to feel ill.

“I started to feel like I had the flu,” recalled Dale. “I laid down for a few minutes and then told my wife we needed to get to the hospital. That’s when I tried to get up, but I passed out and hit the floor.”  

That’s when Jean knew something serious was happening. She got Dale in the car and drove as fast as she could to the nearest hospital. 

A Rapid Response 

When they arrived at Habersham Medical Center (HMC), the medical staff quickly took over. They started to perform tests and discovered Dale was having a heart attack. The team then decided he needed to be transferred to the cardiac cath lab at Georgia Heart Institute.  

When Dale arrived at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Gainesville, he was rushed to the front of the line to clear the blockages in his heart that were causing his heart attack.  

Dale’s loss of consciousness was due to a complete heart blockage which led to a severely slow heartbeat, also known as bradycardia. 

“We immediately brought Mr. Holmes to the cath lab so we could place a stent in the artery with the culprit blockage,” said Falgun Patel, MD, the interventional cardiologist who initially cared for Dale. “This treatment restored his heart to normal function and saved his life in return.” 

The timely care that Dale received made all the difference in his outcome.

“We all know that in situations like Dale’s, every second counts,” said Nima Ghasemzadeh, MD, Dale’s cardiologist at Georgia Heart Institute who continues his care. “The quick action of Dale’s wife, HMC, the EMS team and the Georgia Heart Institute cath lab staff – that’s what allowed Dale to make a full recovery.” 

Returning Home 

Within a few days, Dale was back at home in Clarkesville with Jean, and back to showing houses in a few weeks. They realized what a total shock his heart attack was as they reflected on what occurred.  

“If you look at my husband, he’s the epitome of health,” said Jean. “We eat right and exercise regularly – that’s why we were so surprised that he was having a heart attack. We learned later that Dale has a family history of heart disease.” 

The other surprise that day for the Holmes family – a more pleasant one – was the care that Dale received. 

“I had no idea about all of the technology and expertise that’s available for situations like mine,” said Dale. “I got to see the machine in action – all of the people who have a common purpose to do miraculous work and save lives.” 

As a real estate agent in the area, Dale has always boasted the heart care down the road in Gainesville. But now he feels like he has the inside scoop to share with his clients.  

“Now I have my own story to share with folks about just how incredible the heart care is at Georgia Heart Institute,” said Dale.  

Caring for Habersham’s Hearts

Patients like Dale who call Habersham County home have even more quality heart care to look forward to now that HMC is set to become NGMC Habersham on July 1, 2023.

To learn more about the transition from HMC to NGMC Habersham, visit www.nghs.com/habersham.